Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall Audiobook Review

I used to be the type of person who said I only run if being chased. I never got into exercising and working out until college. Anyways, to cut to the chase, I’ve been working on Couch To 5K- taking a long break when my knees hurt just to walk. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall entered my vision at about this time and I promptly put the audiobook on hold at my library.

Born To Run Christopher McDougall Audiobook Cover

Born To Run

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall opens with the author experiencing pains in his foot after running and looking to doctors to fix it and be able to run again. Various doctors tell him he shouldn’t run any more. So, Christopher McDougall ignores his doctor and searches for a solution on his own. His search leads him to the world of ultra running and eventually to a reclusive Mexican tribe, the Tarahumara, who run long distances barefoot and actually outrun their prey.

Born To Run is a fascinating look at the unadulterated joy of running, peppered with criticism of the athletic shoe industry. Apparently running shoes are bad for you and barefoot running will prevent injury. I was SO surprised by this that I actually ended up spending time on the Vibram Five Finger Running Shoe website looking at a new pair.  I know that is weird. But, I think that Born To Run by Christopher McDougall will appeal to athletic non-fiction fans.

I listened to the unabridged audio of BornTo Run produced by Listening Library and narrated by Fred Sanders. The audiobook is 11 hours and 9 minutes long. Sanders  sounded to me like one of my dad’s smart drinking buddies. Seriously, you know those middle aged guys with interesting stories to tell over beers — that is what he sounds like, which DEFINITELY appeals to me. I will state that Born To Run may not appeal to an audio beginner, but I do recommend this to experienced audiophiles looking to branch out of their comfort zones.

Disclosure: Borrowed from my local library.

Other reviews of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall:

Helen’s Book Blog
Let’s eat Grandpa!

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Glad you enjoyed it. I love your description of Sanders’ reading.
    I actually started reading the book in October-November of 2011, in a half-hearted attempt at researching my NaNoWriMo. The idea didn’t flesh out, and I gave up on the book because it’s not my kind of thing, but it had some real Interesting Potential, for those actually interested.

  2. I just went running yesterday and hurt my ankle that I thought had completely healed months ago. OMG IT’S THE RUNNING SHOES

  3. Now, the real question – did you listen while you ran? LOL! (Although I do love the idea of the narrator sounding like he’s telling a story over beers!! Those are the best conversations sometimes.)

    My good friend (who is a runner) talked about this one before, she read it soon after she started running I think. Between you and her, I may have to both read this book and get my lazy butt in gear and try out C25K again…

  4. Ha! I used to say that running should only be a defense mechanism. But I did the C25K late last year, and ran in a 5K on Thanksgiving. Then I stopped running over the holidays, and I just started back up a month ago — it’s much easier this time!

  5. When I took a Couch to 5K class, we had speakers come in give us advice. There was one doctor who did marathons and he said the less padding the in a shoe the better. I had a lot of trouble with my feet when I first started running but I found over time that the more I ran the better they got. I should really read this book! Thanks for the review.

  6. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now, probably a least a year. I’m glad you reviewed the audio version; I’ll have to give that a try, because I probably won’t get around to getting and reading a print copy.

    I’ve heard barefoot running is better for you. Maybe I’ll check out those special shoes too—if you get a pair, let me know how they work out for you.

  7. I’m glad you enjoyed this. I read it a while ago and it changed my opinions on a few things. Before I even read the book I was wearing the Vibram Five Fingers he describes; I used to run about 40 miles a week and this book basically became my Bible for several years.

  8. Oh, if only I didn’t hate running with the passion and fire of a thousand suns. Is there an audiobook for people who love Zumba? Someone needs to get on that. And make sure the narrator sounds like your dad’s drinking buddy. With fun spunky Latin music in the background.

  9. I bought myself a pair of merrells this summer (I couldn’t bring myself to get the Vibrams–they’re just so unattractive!) and I really like them. I’m barefoot most of the time anyway, when I’m not at work. I really need to do the whole couch-to-5k thing, since I’ve been on the couch too long & need to be running again! Did it work for you? You didn’t get shin splints or anything? That was my big issue with running (loved it otherwise!).

    Think I’ll have to check out this book!

    • Well, I got through most of C25k but then my knees really started bothering me, so I stopped. I’m thinking that might be due to either the hardness of the treadmill or my shoe.

      No shin splints though.

  10. Oh my gracious those are the ugliest shoes and I am sorry about how ugly they are, but if they make running better, maybe I should get some. I need some new running shoes anyway. I hate running so much, but I also love it – if that makes any sense at all. None of this has anything to do with the review.

    Rock on for sitting through this one, April. Out of the comfort zone and all. You’re a trooper. I sit comfortably in my comfortable zone with Quothe, Kvothe, Kote – whatever he wants to go by that day. 😉
    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) recently posted..My Thoughts On: Bewitching by Alex FlinnMy Profile

    • Ahahahah those running shoes are ugly, but I feel like if they make running less painful then it’s got to be worth the ugly aesthetic.

      Sometimes I like to leave my comfort zone!

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